Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blog Hop!

Jennifer-- over at "We're what Willis was talking about"-- is hosting a Blog Hop. What's a Blog Hop? It's a quick, easy way to jump from adoption blog to adoption blog.

Many are either Reece's Rainbow families or advocates. You'll read some amazing stories of what God is doing in ransoming His little ones.

A few guidelines to Blog Hop Etiquette:
*visit AND comment on other blogs
*read at least one of their posts
*leave a relevant comment on their blog and mention how you found them
*follow their blog through Google or another blog-following tool

Check back often for additonal bloggers linking up!

Another chance to shine

Unfortunately our Secretary of State's office has yet another opportunity to dazzle us with their superior service.  I'm so thankful that they've done such a great job completing our apostilling, but I really was hoping Monday's documents were the last they'd see from us for a while.

In proofing our completed (apostilled) documents, our adoption agency found that the City Assessor had made an error and put the date of March 23 on his letter (which was written and notarized  on March 22).  While I triple checked the notary's date-- yeah, International Adoption tends to bring out some OCD tendencies in a person-- I never looked at the date on the top of the letter.
Anyhow, our Assessor was apologetic and re-did it this morning.  We've already been to FedEx, so the SOS should get the letters in the morning and hopefully they'll be completed and arrive at our agency early Friday.

On a different note, another possible issue is with our deed.  Our county does not use street addresses anywhere on a deed-- only parcel number and lot descriptor.  While it's easy enough to cross-reference the Assessor's Letter (since it has parcel number, lot descriptor, and  street address), we're not sure that will fly with the judge... So we'll submit it as is and see what she says.  If she wants more/different info, then we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

So that's where we're at... waiting...
...and again, I'm hoping and praying for a quick turn-around by the SOS, that the documents will look good, and soon be in the judge's hands!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Give it up for our SOS !

I've said it before, but it bears repeating...
our Secretary of State's office ROCKS!

Once again they received, apostilled, and sent our documents in the same day (at the regular-- not expedited-- rate).

The 3 additional documents reached our agency this morning.  Here's hoping that everything looks good and will be headed to EE soon!

Have I mentioned lately how much I love this little guy?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

3 More Requirements

Our Little Dude's region added 3 more required documents.  (This is in addition to the ones we sent last week.  It applies to all families adopting from the region and is not the list we'll get from the judge once she reviews our packet.)

Our Social Worker called with this little bit of info on Thursday afternoon.  From what I understand, regions continually revise the list of requirements, so this request isn't that out-of-the-ordinary.

The 3 requirements (all in duplicate, notarized, and apostilled of course!):
     1.  a certified copy of our house deed
     2.  an assessor's letter
     3.  a copy of our 1040 Tax Form from 2011

When getting birth and marriage certificates from our County's Register of Deeds in January, I (thankfully) had the foresight to also get two certified copies of our house deed.

A phone call to our City Assessor and he had the notarized letter waiting for pick-up within an hour.

And Thursday evening, Dave was able to e-file our taxes.  The question probably didn't cross your mind, but in case it did... Our tax form itself is not notarized.  We complete an affidavit statement and attach it to the 1040, basically stating that it is a true and unaltered copy of our original tax form.  We sign that in front of a notary then she signs stating that we have proven our identity and subscribed it before her.

I was able to take the envelope to FedEx yesterday, so it should arrive at the Secretary of State's office for apostilling on Monday morning.  Hopefully it will be completed on Monday, get to our adoption agency on Tuesday, then head to EE ASAP!

Just another hoop, my friends.  Just another hoop!

Friday, March 16, 2012

I remembered I forgot

Just this morning I was reminded that I hadn't yet blogged about our "Hat Knitting Day".  We originally had this planned for February 6, but those plans went out the window when I got a better offer.  (That was the day we met our Little Dude.)

Anyhow, we rescheduled for this past Monday.  It wasn't as big of a group as when we made hats for my friend Robyn's adoption, but it was fun none-the-less.  [How can friends, food, and knitting not be fun???]  Four of us made 12 hats and Aunt Heather had made and sent an additional 3.  My friend Kim has a few more to add to the count but a sick kiddo prevented her from joining us.

These hats will be a gift to the children at our Little Dude's orphanage... those still waiting for their Mommy and Daddy to find them.  While it would be nice to take a hat for each of the kids left behind, it would be even better if they each got a Mommy & Daddy!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Who doesn't like to win something?

While we're waiting, I thought we'd have a little fun.  But first a little background info...

Reece's Rainbow's Family Sponsorship Program (FSP) allows others to donate toward bringing home orphans like our Little Dude.  Since RR is a 501(c)3 organization, donors may claim these gifts on their taxes.

Since our commitment to our Little Dude in October, $1902 has been given to our FSP.  An additional $270 was placed in his account prior to our commitment by those hoping his family would find him.

So here's where the fun comes in...
Over the past two weeks I've been working on a shawl to give away.  On Easter (April 8) we'll draw a name.

Anyone who makes a donation of any size  to our FSP is eligible.  If you donated prior to this little contest, not to worry... I'll throw your name in the hat too   :o)
You'll get two (2) entries into this giveaway for donating to our FSP.

There is also a way to enter without donating... or to increase your chances by doing this also!
Here are your choices:
       1.  Share our Just Love Coffee fundraiser on your Facebook page.
       2.  Share our Adoption Bug fundraiser on your Facebook page.
       3.  Share a Reece's Rainbow Waiting Child on your Facebook page.
       Do all three for 3 more chances!  So donate, share, share, and share for a total of 5 entries into this giveaway.

Here are a few specs about the shawl:
The pattern is called 'Summer Flies'  and has sections of butterflies, lace openwork, and a picot edge.
It's made from a bamboo blend, so it will be good for even warm climates.
Measurements are 42 inches from tip-to-tip and 17 inches deep.
The color is "Misty Taupe" and the photo below is a more accurate portrayal of it's true color.

Here's a photo to give you an idea of size.
(It's just the right size for over your shoulders in an airconditioned church or office.)

Once you've made a donation to our FSP or shared on Facebook, leave me a comment below or an email at stating what you've done (ie. donated, shared, etc.) so I can add your name to the drawing. 

Fine Print (there's always  fine print)...
Immediate family members aren't included in this drawing.  Thanks for your donations and sharing, but you know I'll knit for you anytime.  You must sit this one out.

Oh, did I mention that I like this shawl so much that I'm making one for myself in the exact same yarn?


I'd love to say lots is happening on our adoption front right now, but that just isn't the case.  Actually, our court documents began their trans-Atlantic journey on Monday.  (I'm not sure exactly how long it takes to get them to our Little Dude's country.)  It'll be about 2-3 weeks until they are translated and delivered to the judge in the region.  She then has 10 days to review our documents and tell us what she wants revised, more information on, etc.  We've been warned that this *always* happens, so it's not a matter of if  she'll want something re-done but what  it will be.  The judge reviewing our documents is the one who will preside over our hearing, so she'll already be very familiar with the info about us, our family, financial status, and our Little Dude when we get to that point.

There is some rest at this point of our journey.  Until we hear from the judge, we're done doing.  While we still have some loose strings to tie-up on our Adoption Education requirements, for the most part we can just rest and pray. 

And although we're anxious to have our Little Dude home, time marches on.  There are memories to be made in the lives our 2yo and 4yo.  We've been enjoying the warm weather the past few days having played in the yard, the sandbox, at the park, had a picnic, roasted hotdogs, and made s'mores.  We love the switch to Daylight Savings time because it means that many more hours to play outside after Daddy comes home.  I'm embarassed to admit how many summer evenings we play until dark and only then come in to eat dinner.

So that's where we're at right now... waiting and making memories.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rockin' the Red not-so-pumpy Pumps

Today is Rock the Red Pump day.  March 10, 2012 is designated as National Women and Girls' HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Being more into comfort than style, I broke out the red Danskos for the occassion.

Yes, I realize that the "National" in the NWGHAAD title is referring to those living with HIV/AIDS here in America.  But this day brought to mind several women from my past who are living with HIV/AIDS.

In 2006, Dave and I had the opportunity to spend a few weeks in Kenya.  We have friends serving as missionaries there and the focus of their outreach at that time was HIV education and ministering to HIV/AIDS widows.

During our visit, we ventured into the Mathare slums in Nairobi.  It's anyone's guess exactly how many people call these few square miles home.  Recent estimates are anywhere from 750,000 to upwards of 1 million people.

We first visited "The Peanutbutter Project".  It's a cottage industry in which HIV/AIDS widows are employed making and selling peanutbutter.  This benefits them on so many levels.  It provides an income and a sense of purpose.  They are able to receive ARVs (antiretroviral drugs).  The protein in peanutbutter combined with ARVs and hope are life-changing for these women.

We then stopped at Alice's house.  Alice is living... no, she's now thriving... with HIV/AIDS.  Since meeting her in 2006 and buying some of the beaded pins and necklaces she was selling to make a meager income, she has gotten so much stronger and healthier with ARVs.  She now educates and ministers to others.

We visited Jael's apartment.  We were able to provide some groceries and prayer before leaving.  I have a feeling that the hugs we shared are the only ones she had received in a long time.

There was a dying grandma lying on the dirt floor of her shack.  Her children had died of AIDS and she was left as the sole caregiver for her 12 year old grandson.  I'm sure it was just a matter of days after our visit that he was totally orphaned by her passing.

We visited a 1 week old baby boy named Glory.  His mama is HIV+ and was out looking for food.  He was left in the care of his young siblings.

Our last stop was to visit an 18yo mama named Eyelet.  HIV positive Eyelet and her 3yo daughter were living with her mother.  Eyelet's mother did not want to provide help due to her HIV status.

These women did not lead promiscuous lifestyles.  Most likely their HIV was brought home by a husband that visited a prostitute then kicked her (his wife) out when she found out she was HIV+.  Chances are the husband never got tested or gave up his philandering.  And now she is widowed and alone with HIV/AIDS.

There are other casualties of this pandemic.  The children.  Children orphaned by parents who have died of AIDS.  Children born HIV+.  And possibly most catastrophic, children who gain their HIV status by rape.
I hate to break it to you, but there are many misconceptions out there... one of which is that HIV/AIDS can be cured by having sex with a virgin.  There have been many infants and young children harmed and physically mutilated by this lie.

We spent some time at El Joy School.  You would have never guessed that behind those dark eyes and brilliant smiles was pain that no 5 year old should ever have to bear.  I can still hear a line from the poem they recited in English:

"AIDS.  You took my Father...
... You killed my Mother...
And now you're killing me.
You stole my hope."

We're blessed here in the good ole' USA.  We have testing and treatment.  You can be HIV+ and live a long, happy, and healthy life.  There are tons of HIV+ kids on the Reece's Rainbow Waiting Children list just waiting for that chance.  (Also be sure to check out Project Hopeful.)  These kids aren't looking for a perfect parent... just one that will take that chance and love them.

Get educatedGet involved.  And if you have risk factors, get tested.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I am blessed.  I really, truely am.  Just not with patience.
                                                   And so our wait for apostilling continues.. . .  .   .    .    .     .      .

Update to the above post from yesterday:  Our documents were delivered to our agency this morning.  [They were not showing "picked up" or "in transit" when I was using FedEx tracking last night.]  Yay God!

Friday, March 2, 2012

And it's outta here!

... our packet of court documents, that is.  Woo Hoo!
This morning, after a quick trip to the bank to get the last 16 documents notarized, I sorted, checked, and rechecked (... and rechecked... and rechecked... and rechecked) the documents before heading to FedEx.
  • application to the court to adopt our Little Dude-- check
  • bio boys' birth certificates-- check
  • medical letters for the 4 of us-- check
  • psych evals-- check
  • physicians' licenses-- check
  • labs and x-ray results-- check
  • USCIS approval-- check
  • financial status-- check
  • living conditions-- check
  • and 2 copies of  a whole bunch of other documents-- check

The documents will be delivered to our Secretary of State's office on Monday morning and be apostilled.  They will then be sent to our adoption agency.  Once received there, they will again go over everything with a fine-toothed comb.  (I had scanned and emailed the un-apostilled completed forms to be proofed this week.)

If all looks good, the documents will be sent to our Little Dude's country.  They will then be translated and delivered to the MOES (I think... or whoever these ones go to).  The documents will be reviewed and if everything looks satisfactory, we'll be issued a court date.

Here's hoping and praying that everything looks good and moves through this process quickly!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lilly's Birthday Bash

Somewhere in EE, hidden behind orphanage walls, lies a little girl by the name of "Lilly".  For 5 years now she's been waiting for her family to find her. 

Two teen girls-- Sarah and Rachel-- are fervently praying, advocating, and fundraising for Lilly.  Over the past 9 months, they have used their crafting talents to raise over $1,000 for Lilly's Reece's Rainbow grant.

They are currently hosting Lilly's Birthday Bash on their blog.  Their goal is to put her RR grant over the $10,000 mark... the amount where children who've been waiting indefinitely seem to find families.

This Birthday Bash continues through March 5.  Hop over and check out the items they have for sale.  And be sure to tell Sarah that Carla sent you  ;o)